The Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu has disclosed that mothers of suspected internet scammers, popularly known as ‘Yahoo Boys’, are now organizing themselves into an association.
He said such parents often justified their children’s activities by arguing that they were supporting their families “in the place of irresponsible, runaway or dead fathers”.
Magu said the EFCC’s interest was not just to arrest the ‘Yahoo Boys’ but also to see to their rehabilitation.
He spoke at the commission’s Lagos Office during an EFCC stakeholders’ conference on crusade against cybercrime fraudsters.
He said: “We are looking at how we can rehabilitate the Yahoo Boys; these are young boys, who have graduated, who are in the university. We want to see how we can sensitise them; how we can make them know that the Yahoo Yahoo business is wrong.
“And we are also appealing to their mothers. The parents of these children, they have actually formed an association of Yahoo Yahoo Mothers’ Association – Yes; they are there – Association of Mothers of Yahoo Yahoo Boys.
“Some of them will say the father did not do anything; these boys came, demolished the house and put up a new structure. If you see the cars that we have recovered, you will think that we are in car business. These are all Yahoo Yahoo. All brands of cars – Jaguar, Rolls Royce.
“We want to correct them (Yahoo boys) so they can go back as responsible citizens; people who can be very useful; the knowledge can be utilised; we can bring back the knowledge and make it more useful.
“We are prepared and we are not shying away from arresting and arraigning them, but we are thinking that we should find a way to manage them so that they can be useful citizens. These are very intelligent boys; we can use their intellect for positive purposes for this country.”
Also, Magu said the recent arrest of a social media celebrity, Ismaila Mustapha, popularly known as Mompha; and his Lebanese collaborator, Hamza Koudeih, for their alleged involvement in internet-related fraud and money laundering remains a landmark achievement for the EFCC.
He disclosed that more arrests of “high-value targets” had been made, but could not be made public yet.